Monday, January 02, 2006

Looking for Truth--Part II

OK, the lawyer is still fighting for his relativism.

Here's the gist of his response:

"As a lawyer I am trained to think independently and critically. I read text, evaluate it (even research it if necessary), and then form an opinion on it. It does not matter to me if the text is written by Aquinas or Greeley - I do not take the words or the meaning as they are plainly written on the page. I need to exercise some thought control on what is being written.

I would hope we all do this - we are not marionettes to just follow along blindly. I think our Lord would probably be upset with us if we did."

This is his defense of my "all roads don't lead to truth, some go to dead ends" comments.

Some people just want to go down the dead ends themselves, don't they? Some people don't want to learn from others and avoid the long detours. But to me, and tell me if I'm wrong here, this is where Chesterton's "democracy of the dead" and learning from history come in. I can get farther in my journey towards truth and God (or get there faster) if I listen to the wisdom of trusted others and bypass those deadends and long winding detours. But some people want to see if the scenery is pretty there, I guess.

I don't know. How do I answer the "that's what God gave me a mind for" argument?


  1. Tell him God gave him a mind to find the truth, not to play with 19th century sophistry toys.

    Also, he's confusing being a lawyer with being a philosopher. Lawyers don't care about truth, and any lawyer to tries to tell you differently probably isn't a very good lawyer. A lawyer's job is to glean the meaning of legal documents and figure out how those documents (statutory law, case law, etc.) apply to his client. Truth has nothing to do with it.

  2. Is he suppose to form an 'opinion' as a lawyer? Isn't he suppose to deal with facts? Aren't there set rules & guidelines in his line of work?
    God DID give us free will- so we can choose which way we think is more interesting, & what we want to believe- He doesn't even force us to believe that He exists. I am a lot more obnoxious in that regard than He is.
    You are talking about someone who does believe in God, right Mrs. B?
    I find people who do believe in Him but still fly by the seat of their pants a lot more difficult than the ones who say that He doesn't exist- like you, I do not understand why they disregard Him.
    Our culture has had a lot to do with it- there are people who have grown up thinking that abortion is acceptable, among other heinous practices. We are free to choose if we're going to follow the wind of popular thought, or not- assuming that everyone knows that there are alternatives- & also assuming that they are in control of their own lives.
    For those who do know better, & can discern intelligently- they can look to St. Thomas More. He was friends with what's-his-name,& yet he told him, it does not matter that you are king, or what you want- God comes first. Even his own family couldn't get him to make the WRONG choice & change his mind! Also, why couldn't Henry VIII have changed HIS mind?
    The Bible warns about luke-warmness-
    & God never said following Him would be easy.

    Please pardon-
    I think I made the coffee a little too strong this am, Mrs. Brown.

  3. Rhapsody,
    Thank you for reminding me about St. Thomas More, excellent! And a lawyer. Yes, lawyers deal with facts, but ultimately, even lawyers must seek the truth of the matter. Every human is concerned with the truth, it's part of our DNA structure, I believe! "Our hearts are restless, till they rest in thee" is true for all of us. So, for lawyers as well as everyone, truth has everything to do with everything!

    Yes, we do have free will. Our freedom, as Chesterton so beautifully pointed out in so many places, makes us free to choose to do what's right, knowing fully what's wrong at the same time. Choosing to do what's right isn't "being a marionette" it's actually, from my experience, the "hard road" and, even sometimes, the adventurous road.

  4. Good point, Mrs. Brown. "Not the smallest letter of the law" - we call them nucleotides - which are the four letters A, C, G, T which "spell out" the DNA "word" - if a SINGLE LETTER goes wrong, there can be problems!!!

    For eaxmple; sickle cell anemia is caused by a ONE-LETTER difference in the code. One out of some 3 billion!

    A one-letter error can cause cancer, or give rise to other serious and even fatal problems.

    Another example, a bit closer to us in our present form of discussion, is the PASSWORD we must type in order to gain access to this machinery: if your submission does not match EXACTLY, forget about it! Not one letter... Sometimes, not even upper versus lower case!!! (That is a difference of one bit, which is the "smallest part of a letter" for us computer people.)

    But if "everything is relative" why is that held so absolutely? Could it be that he is only a "fair-weather" relativist? Oh, that's right. Chesterton explained that too:

    "No sceptics work sceptically; no fatalists work fatalistically; all without exception work on the principle that it is possible to assume what it is not possible to believe. No materialist who thinks his mind was made up for him, by mud and blood and heredity, has any hesitation in making up his mind. No sceptic who believes that truth is subjective has any hesitation about treating it as objective." [GKC, St. Thomas Aquinas CW2:542-543]

    And so we might add: no relativists work relativistically. They don't even bother reading Einstein, where they would learn how absolute his work really was!

    That "relativity" is a boring old dark minded song, which leads nowhere ... ah-HA! That is the answer about the roads to truth! There are some things which are called "roads" but which do not lead anywhere at all.

    The word most often used in such a context is "lost"...

  5. Agreed, Mrs. Brown.

    Jesus did tell us, as believers, that we are to pick up our cross every day & follow Him.

    If your friend is a believer, his cross is that he is a lawyer whose responsibilities include making decisions that may affect not only his soul, but the souls of his clients.

    And popular thought doesn't now, (has it ever?) strongly supported our Lord & His commandments-

    not making it easy for your friend, who definitely needs our prayers & hopefully is strengthened by the grace the Lord has made available to him in the sacraments.

  6. "It does not matter to me if the text is written by Aquinas or Greeley - I do not take the words or the meaning as they are plainly written on the page... we are not marionettes to just follow along blindly."

    I fail to see how this is a defense for the claim that all roads lead to truth; and I fail to see how taking Aquinas or Greeley at face value is to become a blind marionette. Now, perhaps, believing their words without sufficient reflection or without a sufficient motive of credibility is to be a blind marionette. But perhaps we can see the reasonableness of their words (taken at face value) or we can establish their credibility.


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